We all know about Dolly Parton’s humble beginnings. She is a girl born from poverty who loved with 11 other children living in a tiny cabin of the Tennessee Mountains. Like anyone who comes from that kind of background, big dreams are built. Luckily, everything fell in place for Dolly.
Parton established herself as one of the greatest artists in country music. She is a musician, performer, actress, record producer and author.
Despite all her achievements, she never forgot her humble beginnings. In an interview she says, “I always thought that if I made it big or got successful at what I had started out to do, that I wanted to come back to my part of the country and do something great, something that would bring a lot of jobs into this area.”
That something wonderful is her very own theme park, Dollywood, which has grown into the hometown’s largest employer. It’s also one of the most visited amusement parks with almost three million visitors a year.
Here are some other things you probably didn’t know about Dollywood.
1. Parton wasn’t the original owner of the park
According to history, opened in 1961 as The Rebel Railroad. It’s a park that had steam train, general store, blacksmith shop, and saloon as their attraction. The park’s name changed as owners changed. 25 years after, it became Dollywood owned jointly by Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment.
2. The park’s opening caused major traffic problems
According to Mental Floss article, days after the park’s opening in May 1986, traffic led into the park six miles down U.S. 441. Can you imagine waiting that long? After only five months, Dollywood had one million visitors. I wonder how many more visitors it has now.
3. The chapel is named after a special person in Dolly’s life
If you’ve been at Dollywood on a Sunday, you may have attended a service at the Robert F. Thomas Chapel. Can you guess who he is? Well, he was the doctor who delivered Parton on January 19, 1946.
4. Baby Care Center
The park is very family oriented and kid/ baby friendly. They have a Baby Care Center, nursing stations and more. You can ask any restaurant host for help and they will warm the bottle for you. Now, that’s useful information for parents!
5. There’s a dog station
They call this place DoggyWood and they serve as a temporary boarding house for your dogs so you can enjoy the park’s attractions without your dogs bothering you. Just make sure that you make a reservation for your little buddies.
6. Wednesdays and Thursdays are the lean days
If you are concerned about crowds, timing will be very important. The park’s FAQ says that the lean days depend on the season. Say, on summers, Wednesdays and Thursdays are ideal. Spring, Wednesdays and Christmas, weekdays are the least busy.
7. Send your souvenirs somewhere for safekeeping
The park has the Package Pickup service so you don’t have to worry carrying the souvenirs or presents with you all day. Just tell the cashier you’d like to use the system and just come back for it anytime, all day. Now that’s convenient!
That’s all for now folks! I hope you find these useful. Do you know some other facts about Dollywood? Feel free to share it to us.